Cover Image
close this bookDimensions of Human Development - Research Report on Basic Human Needs Lists (Individual Contributor S. Alkire)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMethods for arbitrating disputes
View the documentCriteria for dimensions of human development (85)
View the documentOther lists: the four arguments demonstrated
View the documentConclusion


The above discussion, and the identification of dimensions of human development, most instantiations of which are not the obligations of economic producers, is valuable in clearing the ground and discussion of all of the possible angles of discussion on human development, and on the respective roles of the market and political and institutional systems in promoting it. (114) But I can not make strong claims for the adequacy of the array of dimensions which emerges, because there are clear weaknesses. First, I am highly aware that, Max-Neef excepted, the 'source' authors I have used are from the North (which does not necessarily disqualify their insights but does, in my opinion, mean that one must seek additional Southern perspectives, and also perspectives from different socio-economic classes in order to check whether or not they cohere, but this is a separate research project in itself). Second, I find the categorisation process indeed slightly arbitrary. There is a genuine element of ambiguity in this process which must be emphasised over and over and over again, rather than trying to destroy it with clean categories. These weaknesses, aside, it has seemed that the value of having a set of dimensions comes to life when it is used practically (Finnis, Max-Neef) and that, to quote Galtung, the array would be satisfactory if it were "fruitful," if it served "to identify problems already known to be important" and if it were able "to guide us further in understanding problems that may become important one day but have not yet crystallized sufficiently."